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The sector gap

Live long and prosper, as Mr. Spock put it.

We’ve already seen studies that suggest government workers earn more than their private sector counterparts. Now comes one that says they live longer, too.

Not a lot longer among men, the American study suggests.

But among women, the difference is marked, according to the brief by three researchers at Boston College’s Center for Retirement Research and a Boston College management sciences professor.

The researchers studied public and private sector workers in the U.S. in the early 1980s, between the ages of 55 and 64, and what happened within an 11-year period.

CRR director Alicia Munnell, assistant director of state and local research Jean-Pierre Aubry and research economist Geoffrey Sanzenbacher, along with Peter Drucker, professor of management sciences at Boston College, concluded that “public sector workers – especially women – do live longer than their private sector counterparts and that most of the difference can be explained by the higher education levels of public sector workers.”

Here’s what they found: The likelihood of death in that age bracket was 0.6 of a percentage point lower for men in the public sector, and 1.2 percentage points lower for women.

A separate six-year look, deemed “less conclusive,” showed men in the public sector “slightly more likely to die,” though women held the same advantage.

“It is tempting to develop a story around the nature of public sector work – perhaps it is somehow easier, less stressful, or more stable than private sector work or perhaps public sector workers have better health benefits and these factors lead to lower mortality,” the researchers said.

“The reality is somewhat more mundane: 1) public sector workers, on average, are more educated than private sector workers; and 2) more educated people have lower mortality.”

Death rates are comparable, they added, after “controlling for education.”

(If you want to learn more about mortality in Canada, see Statistics Canada’s “Leading causes of death, by sex.” Yes, there’s a comma.)

A comment from Evan Solomon I'd love to see

"Wow, this one moves. I bet Balsillie would pay a bundle."

Loonie climbs

The Canadian dollar is flying high today, along with other currencies in the wake of a weaker greenback.

So far today, the loonie has been as high as 81.94 cents U.S. and as low as 80.96 cents. It’s up by about 2.5 per cent from Friday’s low.

This is largely due to comments from the governor of the Bank of Japan, Haruhiko Kuroda, who suggested the yen has now seen bottom, which sparked a rally in the currency.

“Mr. Kuroda’s observation that there isn’t much more real effective weakness to come is an attempt to instill some stability but despite the violence of this this morning’s correction, we’re in a range,” said Kit Juckes, chief of foreign exchange at Société Générale.

Helping to keep Canada’s dollar up are the latest, and better-than-expected, readings on the jobs and housing construction markets.

Quote of the day

“The USD has no friends.”
George Davis, RBC

What to watch for today

Mark Carney, late of Canada, will be in the spotlight with an annual “Mansion House” speech.

Both Mr. Carney, now Governor of the Bank of England, and Britain’s finance minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, will be speaking, though there’s more focus today on Mr. Osborne than the former chief of the Bank of Canada.

“Even though Mark Carney will be on his home turf, he is almost certain to play second fiddle to George Osborne who will be using this to test the City’s waters on some of his summer budget plans now less than a month away,” said market analyst Alastair McCaig of IG in London.

“It is widely expected that he will outline plans of running a budget surplus, a laudable target although historically an infrequently achieved one,” Mr. McCaig added.

“The City will also be looking for clues as to how and when the Chancellor will look to sell of the taxpayers’ holdings in both Lloyds and RBS.”

Mr. Carney is expected to hold the line when he speaks on monetary policy.

“Last year’s Mansion House speech managed to surprise cable traders as a rather hawkish Carney emerged on the day,” said head analyst Brenda Kelly of London Capital Group.

“Most recent rhetoric from the BOE governor was fairly balanced in relation to monetary tightening but if he can surprise us once, he can certainly do it again.”

Word of the day

Bitumen
Gooey stuff from the oil sands that can be upgraded. For Canada’s oil patch at this point, life really is ... a bitumen.

Stat of the day

$67,000
Average down payment among first-time Canadian home buyers, based on Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals report

Video: When Netflix snags Brad Pitt, you know the world has changed

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